Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky “crossed an ethical line”, report claims
A damning report into doping in sport has suggested that Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky used performance-enhancing drugs to win the 2012 Tour de France.
In an explosive moment for British cycling, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport select committee has accused Team Sky of abusing Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) to allow Wiggins to take powerful corticosteroids ahead of the high-profile race.
The report reads: “From the evidence that has been received by the committee, we believe that this powerful corticosteroid [triamcinolone] was being used to prepare Bradley Wiggins, and possibly other riders supporting him, for the Tour de France.
“The purpose of this was not to treat medical need, but to improve his power-to-weight ratio ahead of the race. The application for the TUE for the triamcinolone for Bradley Wiggins, ahead of the 2012 Tour de France, also meant that he benefited from the performance-enhancing properties of this drug during the race.”
The report stops short of claiming doping violations were committed, but it does suggest Team Sky and Wiggins crossed “the ethical line” set by manager David Brailsford.
Brailsford was criticised by the select committee for a lack of transparency about the contents of a jiffy bag that was hand-delivered to Team Sky and Dr Richard Freeman at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine. Brailsford said the package contained the legal decongestive drug Fluimucil, but was unable to prove this due to records kept on Freeman’s laptop being stolen in 2014.
“How can David Brailsford ensure that his team is performing to his requirements, if he does not know and cannot tell, what drugs the doctors are giving the riders?” the report asks.
“David Brailsford must take responsibility for these failures, the regime under which Team Sky riders trained and competed and the damaging scepticism about the legitimacy of his team’s performance and accomplishments.”
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Wiggins said in a statement posted on Twitter: “I find it so sad that accusations can be made, where people can be accused of things they have never done which are then regarded as facts. I strongly refute the claim that any drug was used without medical need. I hope to have my say in the next few days & put my side across.”
Team Sky also denied the use of performance-enhancing drugs, but acknowledged errors in terms of its poor record keeping:
“The report details again areas in the past where we have already acknowledged that the Team fell short,” a statement reads. “We take full responsibility for mistakes that were made. We wrote to the committee in March 2017 setting out in detail the steps we took in subsequent years to put them right, including, for example, the strengthening of our medical record keeping.
“However, the report also makes the serious claim that medication has been used by the team to enhance performance. We strongly refute this. The report also includes an allegation of widespread triamcinolone use by Team Sky riders ahead of the 2012 Tour de France. Again, we strongly refute this allegation. We are surprised and disappointed that the committee has chosen to present an anonymous and potentially malicious claim in this way, without presenting any evidence or giving us an opportunity to respond. This is unfair both to the team and to the riders in question.
“We take our responsibility to the sport seriously. We are committed to creating an environment at Team Sky where riders can perform to the best of their ability, and do it clean.”